Migration data relevant for the COVID-19 pandemic

Last updated on 14 May 2020

Migrants – particularly in lower paid jobs – may be both more affected by and vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 in countries already impacted and those countries where the pandemic is spreading, but migrants also play an important role in the response to COVID-19 by working in critical sectors.  As of 22 April 2020, migrants accounted for at least 10 per cent of the population in 10 of the 15 countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases (UN DESA, 2019; WHO, 2020)1. Compared to the global share of international migrants making up 3.5 per cent of the total population, international migrants are overrepresented in these countries.  In addition, as of 10 March 2020, at least 1,820 movement restrictions had been implemented due to COVID-19. Between 11 March 2020, when the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and 20 April 2020, the total number of movement restrictions implemented around the world has increased to more than 48,000 (IOM, 2020). Increasing border restrictions also have an impact on the mobility of migrants and the role of humanitarian organizations.

This page discusses data on migrants that can inform how they are potentially both affected by the impact of and part of the response to COVID-19. As information related to the COVID-19 pandemic is constantly evolving, figures and other data will be updated on a regular basis. For information by country or region, please see here and underneath the map for key indicators on migration and demography.

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